tv [untitled] CSPAN June 15, 2009 2:00pm-2:30pm EDT
companies created c-span as a public service, a private business initiative. no government mandate, no government money. >> the house is about to meet for legislative business. members have 19 bills and resolutions scheduled for debate today. among them, letting the inspector general overseeing afghanistan war spending hire more inspectors. we will take you live now to the floor of the u.s. house. we expect them to come through the doors and get started in just a moment.
the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father coughlin. chaplain coughlin: as people of faith, we often pray to you lord god -- to you, lord got almighty, out of a sense of need. each of us cries out in frustration to you as our refuge and as healer. prayer helps us whether we are leaders or just ordinary americans to live our lives with greater integrity and meet our daily responsibilities. sometimes we are more conscious of our common needs.
it is then prayer helps us identify with one another, feel compassion toward others in need and pray for them. we all desire peace of heart, help and wisdom as well as prudence to make the right decisions needed each day. whether we are in public service or work in the private sector. in all cases, through prayer, lord, you help us to see ourselves more honestly and suspend judgment of others so we can work together and more freely give you the glory. amen. the speaker pro tempore: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1 the journal stands approved.
the pledge of allegiance will be led by the gentlewoman from north carolina, congresswoman foxx. ms. foxx: please join me in the pledge to our wonderful flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will entertain requests for one-minute speeches. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from north carolina rise? ms. foxx: permission to speak to the house for one minute, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: proceed, without objection. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. the health care debate has begun in washington and across the country. unfortunately the plan democrats has in store for the american people will do little to improve our health care
situation. in fact, it will make the problem worse. when democrats talk about health care reform, what they really mean is a government takeover of health care with few details available. some reports suggest that the plan for this government takeover will cost upwards of $1.2 trillion. and as robert samuelson noted in today's "washington post" all this new federal spending will still not fix the, quote, crux of our health care dilemma, end quote. the american people deserve a plan that will make health care more affordable and available to all and those who like their current health care coverage to keep it. while democrats support raising taxes and rationing care, republicans supports health care reform that ensures patients and doctors make health care decisions, not a bunch of bureaucrats in washington. i yield back, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back at. at this time the gentleman from missouri, mr. russ carnahan, is recognized for one minute.
mr. carney: -- mr. carnahan: the house passed house resolution 492, recognizing this week as high-performance building week. it will have the benefits of high-o.p.m. building and works to in-- high-performance building and each year our homes, offices, schools and other buildings consume 70% of our electricity, 60% of raw materials. by designing and building high-performance building we reduce carbon consumption. we save both water and raw materials. we save debris from going into landfills and certainly high-performance building construction creates good-paying jobs that gives workers the available skills they need to excel. hopefully the members will
highlight the importance buildings have and to continue the future research and development and performance of high performance technologies. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina rise? mr. wilson: mr. speaker, i ask permission to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized. mr. wilson: mr. speaker, president obama and his democrat allies in congress have said that they want those who currently like their health care plan to keep it. then they publicly endorse a government-run health care insurance plan that would crowd out and eliminate the private insurance plans millions of americans currently enjoy. they cannot have it both ways. the democrat big government proposals claim to increase access and affordability by letting government determine what will and will not be paid for. as the only game in town, a government insurance plan would be the sole provider and decider of the quality of
health care available. conversely, republicans have long argued that health care reform should focus on expanding access so more americans can afford a higher quality of care. we should be focused on empowering more individuals and families to afford the level of care they want. if congress chooses to empower the government and itself in crafting a new government-run insurance plan, it will directly undermine the doctor-patient relationship that is the foundation of quality american health care. in conclusion, god bless our troops and we will never forget september 11 and the global war on terrorism. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from arkansas rise? mr. boozman: i ask permission to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to honor mr. bobby new who has devoted his life to the education of our youth.
mr. new is retiring from 35 years of public education, 13 of which were the superintendent of the fayetteville school district. during his time as superintendent he provided the school district with the ideas and the innovation necessary that are required for a growing area, including updating the grading structure and increasing technology throughout the district. we are blessed to have educational professionals like mr. new. i commend him for his service as the superintendent of the fayetteville public schools, his passion for educating our youth and his commitment to improving our schools. i wish him success in his future endeavors and today i ask my colleagues to join me in honoring mr. new and educator and friend whose continued devotion to the third district of arkansas has not gone unnoticed and will never be forgotten. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the
balance of his time. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, the chair will postpone further proceedings today on motions to suspend the rules on which a recorded vote on the yeas and nays are ordered or on which a vote incurs objection under clause 6 of rule 20. record votes on postponed questions will be taken after 6:30 p.m. today. for what purpose does the gentleman from american samoa rise? mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and agree to senate bill 615. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: senate 615, an act to provide additional personnel authorities for the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from american samoa, mr. faleomavaega, and the gentleman from florida, mr. bilirakis, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from american samoa. mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five
legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker, i rise in strong support of senate bill 615, legislation that provides critical personnel authority for the special inspector general for afghanistan known as c.r. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker, since 2001, the united states has devoted $32 billion in humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to afghanistan. in an effort to combat waste, fraud and abuse with regard to the expenditure of these funds, congress created the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction or commonly known as sigar in the national defense act of 2008. that legislation empowers sigar to conducts audits, inspections
of all u.s. assistance programs in afghanistan. congress intended that sigar would exercise its authority swiftly. and it came into existence in 2008 in july of last year with an authorization to hire 18 auditors, 13 inspectors and three investigators. but from the beginning, sigar has been hindered by certain limitations contained in standard federal government personnel authorities, and by the difficulty of attracting qualified candidates to work in the difficult security environment of afghanistan. a year after its creation, sigar has conducted only one independent audit and has only hired nine auditors, five inspectors and three investigators. this resolution would help resolve this problem by granting sigar a special hiring authority under 5 u.s.c. section 3161. section 3161 would allow sigar a more flexible accepted
service authority and empower the office to select, appoint and employ the necessary staff to fulfill its duties. in particular, section 3161 would grant return rights to federal employees, provide interagency detailed authority and permit the setting of pay rates above the caps established by g.s. step 10. mr. speaker, this has proven to be a vital asset to sigar's counterpart in afghanistan, sigir, to attract its dedicated core of professional staff. after conducting an in depth review, the department of defense and the office of personnel management have concluded that the proposed legislation is necessary to allow sigar to meet its responsibilities. this bill provides a responsible event to having
sigar conduct its duties of programs in afghanistan. i support the bill and urge my colleagues to support it as well. and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from florida. mr. bilirakis: thank you. i rise in strong -- first of all, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. bilirakis: i rise in strong support of this legislation. the united states has committed over $30 billion in assistance to afghanistan since 2001, and with the president's stated intention to increase the size and scope of our efforts there, it is necessary that we provide all of our inspector generals operating in afghanistan the authorities and resources necessary to mitigate fraud, waste and abuse in these programs. however, the office of the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction, or sigar, currently lacks such authorities and resources. despite its establishment
nearly one year ago, sigar officials have poorly had difficulty hiring qualified individuals for this unique and challenging assignment, and that the staffing shortfall has contributed to the lack of independent audits or investigations by the office thus far. this legislation would amend the nuclear defense authorization act for fiscal year 2008 to provide to sigar personnel authorities similar to those given to the special inspector general for iraq reconstruction. . the legislation would standardize the hiring process by allowing sigar to grant authority to heads of organizations. such authorities would allow organizations to hire staff for limited terms notwithstanding the requirements normally applicable to civil service positions. this legislation is intended to help the sigar quickly hire experienced well qualified
employees to conduct necessary oversight of reconstruction efforts in oofing. -- afghanistan. employees hired under this new authority could serve until the termination of the sigar office. i strongly urge my colleagues to support this legislation which gives the sigar additional hiring authorities to facilitate his ability to quickly hire experienced, well qualified employees to fill critical positions. i reserve the balance of my time. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from american samoa. mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker, i yield such time as i may consume. i thank my good friend, the gentleman from florida, for his comments in support of this legislation. i do also want to thank the gentlelady, the good senator from maine, senator collins, for her authorship of this bill. $32 billion is no penny to certainly to be given some sense of responsibility in knowing
where the american taxpayers' money has gone in terms of the appropriations and the funding that we have given to afghanistan as well as to any other country for that matter. so again i really commend the gentlelady, the good senator from maine, senator collins, for her author ship of this bill. i thank my good friend from florida also in helping us in managing this bill on the floor. i don't have any additional speakers unless the gentleman wishes to yield first before i yield. mr. bilirakis: i don't have any additional speakers. i yield back the balance of my time. mr. faleomavaega: with that, mr. speaker, i also yield my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida, the gentleman from american samoa both yield the remaining balance of the time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass senate 615. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
for what purpose does the gentleman from american samoa rise? mr. faleomavaega: i move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, house resolution 430 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the resolution. the clerk: house resolution 430, resolution expressing condolences to the citizens of italy and support for the government of italy in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck the abruzzo region of italy. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from american samoa, the gentleman from florida, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from american samoa. mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the resolution under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker, i rise in strong support of this resolution which expresses condolences to the citizens of
the government of italy in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in the abruzzo region. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker, i wish to thank my good friend and my colleague, mr. pascrell, from the great state of new jersey, for introducing this important resolution that allows the house to add its voice to the international outpouring of sympathy for the italian people in the wake of this natural disaster. on april 6, the abruzzo region of central italy was struck by a 6.3 magnitude richter scale of the earthquake. nearly 300 people were killed while tens of thousandses were left homeless. in addition to the terrible loss of life and livelihood, the earthquake damaged or destroyed nearly 15,000 buildings, equallying hundreds of churches, castles, and heritage sites. emergency relief funding was provided while president obama expressed his condolences and
offered assistance. the italian prime minister, the host of the next g-8 meeting, has relocated the summit to the town that was at the center of the devastation. as explained, i quote, the g-8 represents the message of hope for the entire region struck by the earthquake, end of quote. it is appropriate that the house posits today, mr. speaker, as prime minister ber louis coney is in washington, d.c. torques express its deepest condolences to the families killed and injured in the earthquake. we also reaffirm the deep ties shared between our people and two countries. i strongly support this resolution and i urge all my colleagues to do likewise. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida. mr. billie khakis: thank -- mr. bilirakis: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. i rise today in support of this resolution which expresses our
condolences and sympathy for the people of italy following the terrible loss of life which occurred in the central abruzzo region last april which was struck by powerful earthquake. tragedy the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck in the early morning of april 6 killed over 250 people. tens of thousands more were left homeless. as their family properties were destroyed. over 15,000 buildings, rich in culture and history, were obliterated in just moments by the powerful shocks. i note that despite the danger from the strong aftershocks after the earthquake, heroic italian rescue workers nevertheless entered the unstable buildings at risk to themselves and pulled over hundreds of survivors to safety. mr. speaker, when we think of italy, our first thoughts are of the beauty, the history, the culture, and especially the
warmth and kindness of its people. as a nation, america also has a tremendous affinity for italy. since our country has been greatly enriched by those italian immigrants who came to our shores, became a part of our american nation, and contributed so much to our culture and economic prosperity. and so in the wake of that immense disaster, americans mourned in sympathy with the people of italy over their tremendous loss and committed to stand with them as they work to rebuild and recover. i'm pleased to support this resolution which expresses our deepest condolences to the italian people and notes that with the support of american citizens, humanitarian organizations are continuing to provide assistance in the rebuilding of those cities that were affected by the earthake. i urge my colleagues to support passage of this resolution. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from american samoa. mr. faleomavaega: how much time do we have left? the speaker pro tempore: 18 1/2 minutes. mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker, at this time i yield all the time he may want to consume, my good friend and colleague and author of this legislation, the gentleman from new jersey, mr. pascrell. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. pascrell: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, just a short while ago i returned from afghanistan. the fifth largest contingency in nato is from italy. we have many reminders through history and specifically now of what our relationship is between the united states and italy. so we rise to support this resolution. resolution 430, expressing our deepest sympathies to the citizens of italy. this earthquake was devastating,
mr. speaker, in ruined a large part of the abruzzo part of italy. the magnitude of this earthquake is understood by many americans. the university town of laquila along with 26 other surrounding cities, towns, and villages suffered massive destruction. you already have heard of how many people were killed. 15,000 buildings destroyed. they were historic, cultural landmarks. 70,000 people were displaced. so we extend our deepest sympathies. homes and churches can be rebuilt but we can never replace loved ones. despite the aftershocks that continue to devastate the region for days after, rescue workers
demonstrated true heroism by pulling over 100 survivors from the wreckage. their efforts along with those of humanitarian aid organizations around the clobe who continue to work tirelessly to return people to their homes and rebuild the region deserve commendation. after traveling to italy earlier this year, i could attest to the resiliency and strength of the italian people. i remind us again of the 2,350 troops that fight alongside our brave men and women in afghanistan. it is trying times like these that allow us to recognize the deep and binding ties between our nations, united states of america and italy. this tragedy only brings our two nations closer together. i want to thank -- i would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the many organizations in the united
states, including the national italian american foundation, working to raise funds to aid the rebuilding efforts in abruzzo. the italian american community's support and solidarity with the nation of italy has only increased in the aftermath of this natural disaster. i also want to commend the italian ambassador for his leadership and commitment to the italian american community. i urge my colleagues to join me in passing this resolution to offer our sincere condolences to the nation of italy, for its tremendous loss, as well as pledge our continued support to the italian government. will i do so also this afternoon when i greet the president. the g-8 summit is being held july 8, 9, and 10 and that has been moved to the abruzzo region
to redirect funding to that region to help with the general reconstruction. canada, france, germany, japan, russia, united kingdom, united states of course, and our president, president obama, will be there with our italian friends. i urge the passage of this legislation. i want to thank the chairman and speaker. i want to thank the ranking member for all of your courtesies. this is truly something we need to get involved in to commend american organizations for reaching out to our brothers and sisters in italy. with that i yield back. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. er the gentleman from florida. mr. bilirakis: i yield back the balance of my time. i have already yielded back. i'll do it again. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from american samoa. mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker, i also yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and agree to house resolution 430, as
amended. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the resolution is agreed to, and -- mr. faleomavaega: on that i urge a vote on this resolution. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman ask for the yeas and nays? mr. faleomavaega: yes. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise. and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20 and the chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from american samoa rise? mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and agree to house resolution 309. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report